The key to keeping meal prep lunches interesting is making them flavorful. This dish is loaded with flavor from the fresh ginger to the juicy pineapple. Add in tender chicken and a protein-packed grain. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Benefits of Pineapple
Pineapple has long been known as an anti-inflammatory. Why? Because it contains Bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that aids in digestion and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Studies say it can also help with pain control. So it’s a great ingredient to incorporate into your diet if you are affected by inflammatory autoimmune conditions (see my About Me page for disclaimers). Plus it’s sweet and delicious!
Benefits of Ginger
Ginger has a crazy amount of health benefits. It’s a natural germ fighter. It’s great for relieving nausea and stomach irritation. It’s anti-inflammatory and has been shown to reduce muscle pain. It’s the epitome of a super food! Plus fresh ginger adds a slightly spicy, slightly citrus flavor to dishes. It’s so good!
I try to stick with protein-rich grains with lots of antioxidants in my meals. So I tend to avoid things like white or even brown rice. If that’s your preference with a dish like this, by all means, go for it. But I find there are better options that pack more nutritional value into my meals. Which is important to me when I’m consuming a small portion. Might as well make every calorie count, right? I also like to avoid gluten whenever possible because I find it can lead to inflammation for me. So here are some other options for you:
Quinoa is a delicious super grain that is packed with fiber and protein. It’s a great substitute for rice and it’s really quick to prepare. Be sure to give your uncooked quinoa a rinse before cooking to eliminate any bitterness. My preferred brand of quinoa calls for a two to one ratio of liquid to quinoa. I add two cups of water or vegetable stock and one cup of quinoa to a small pot with a small pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer for fifteen minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Let it stand about five minutes and then fluff with a fork before serving.
Also aptly known as black rice for its hue, this stuff is also packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants. I really like the subtle nutty flavor while texturally, it gets soft like white rice. It is a little slower cooking than quinoa. My preferred brand takes thirty minutes. But it’s well worth it.
Gluten Free Brown Rice Noodles
This is a great, gluten free pasta option. I like the wider Pad Thai noodles but Maifun is a great option if you prefer a thinner cut. They’re a good source of fiber and they cook up in just five minutes.
Start by taking the skin off a fresh pineapple and removing the core. I like to use a pineapple corer to make this job a little easier and cuts the fruit into even slices. Place half the pineapple into the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup of coconut aminos, 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 inch of grated ginger and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth and set aside.
Cut the remaining pineapple into chunks and set aside.
Cut about a pound of chicken thigh meat into bite sized pieces (swap breast meat if you prefer). Toss the chicken pieces in two tablespoons of cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to a pan. Heat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken pieces and allow to brown. When the chicken is nearly browned, add the pineapple pieces. Allow them to caramelize. Add the pureed mixture from the food processor. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare your grain of choice.
Divide the grain between three meal prep containers. Top with the chicken mixture. Store in the fridge until ready to heat and enjoy.
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Ginger Pineapple Chicken
- 1 Pineapple peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos
- 3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 inch Fresh Ginger
- 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- To prepare the sauce, add half the pineapple along with the coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and salt to a blender. Process until smooth and set aside.
- Cut the remaining half of the pineapple into chunks and set aside.
- Toss the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Add the pineapple chunks and allow to caramelize. Pour in the sauce mixture and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
- Prepare your grain of choice.
- Portion your grain of choice and the chicken mixture between two to three meal prep containers. Refrigerate until ready to heat and enjoy.
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